Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Orzo Skillet Meal is ready in less than 30 minutes and makes the perfect weeknight meal. Chopped chicken, broccoli, and orzo are coated in a creamy and flavorful cheddar cheese sauce.
Skillet meals make the perfect weeknight meal after a hectic day. Cheesy chicken broccoli and orzo skillet meal comes together in a single pan, in less than 30 minutes.
Plus, it’s absolutely filled with cheesy flavor. Chicken and broccoli make a great pairing. Bring cheddar cheese into the mix and you’ve got an amazing meal that the entire family will love.
This meal is so easy to make, you’ll be adding it to your weekly rotation. It’s that good!
Ingredients and substitutions
Chicken broth can be substituted with vegetable broth.
Cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken can be used in this recipe to save time. Simply skip past the step of cooking your chicken and continue as written.
Sharp cheddar cheese can be substituted with pepper jack cheese (for an extra kick of flavor) or monterey jack cheese. No matter the cheese you choose, I recommend freshly shredding your cheese.
Packaged shredded cheeses often contain powders to prevent clumping, which when melted can give your sauce a grainy texture. To prevent this, I recommend shredding your own cheese.
Thickening your sauce
You may have noticed that there are no thickening agents in this recipe, like flour or cornstarch.
That’s because we’re using the starches released when the pasta cooks to thicken your sauce naturally.
If your sauce looks thin, remove your completed dish from the heat and allow it to set, uncovered for 5 minutes. Your sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Orzo Skillet Meal
- 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup orzo uncooked
- 3 cups broccoli florets chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- Cube chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper
- Heat saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. When heated, add chicken and cook until juices run clear, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add onions to pan and cook until they begin to brown and turn translucent. Add garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth and water to pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add orzo, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 4 minutes (or, consult your pasta's package directions and cook for 5 minutes less than package directions state).
- Remove lid and add chopped broccoli. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing broccoli to steam and pasta to finish cooking. If all of liquid is absorbed, add an additional 1/4 cup of water as needed.
- Remove lid and add heavy cream, shredded cheese, and cooked chicken. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on low, or until cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy.
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